We’re back in NY in a blustery blizzard of snap, bite, whip of the wind, tears in our eyes after 30 seconds outside. While I dearly miss the sun kissing my skin and the water of aqua blue, I do not miss the 3:30AM arrival of our upstairs hotel-mates every single night. We knew they came home early in the morning and then continued moving furniture, or should I say scraping furniture across the room. After sleeping 12 hours in my own, comfy bed, I was happy to be home.
Until…..I called my mother this morning to talk to her and I could tell from her “hello” it wasn’t going to be one of those warm and fuzzy discussions. Of course, for those of you who know my mother, I’m not entirely sure we’ve ever really had one of those before! Last night, knowing my mother worries a lot about us traveling I asked my daughter, Jillian, to give her a quick call from the airport last night to tell her we had landed. Nice, right? Sensitive. I think she was happy we had called.
This morning when I woke up at 12:30PM I called my mother to talk….to “shmooze.” Surprising, even to me, I was met with 5 if not 6 references on how we were NOT home for Christmas. Again. What? I thought that had been settled a long time ago and she was ok with it. I mentioned it to her and she said “well now I’ll tell you again…for the 7th time you weren’t here for Christmas!!” Basically, her anger at our going, even strengthened when we returned. Mom, don’t you get it, I thought to myself…don’t you want your children to be happy, even if for ONCE, it means they go without you? I didn’t have the nerve to say it, call me a weakling but I know trouble when I hear it in the intonation of of her voice. She told me how my niece and nephew were going to take her to dinner for a Christmas present and I thought that was absolutely lovely (probably engineered by my sister but who cares??!!) I was happy for my mother that her “other” grandchildren were being so loving. Good for them, good for her.
She then proceeded to tell me how she somehow got an OLD email from my husband from a year ago that resurfaced on her computer and how upset she was and how nasty he was. What? She apparently had read this email a year ago, was mad at him, forgave him (my husband is one of the sweetest most helpful men on earth) and then reread it, and got mad all over again.We don’t even know what the email was about anymore; frankly, we don’t care. It was over a year ago, why bring it up again?? Even my husband has finally had his fill, once I told him this. He drives there all the time to help her with her computer, he brings her food but she is losing everybody’s respect with her unwavering desire to hold grudges. What has happened to her? Where has she gone?
My mother used to be a very likable, loving, even tempered woman. Truly she never, ever held a grudge. I remember telling my grade school friends that when my mother was wrong, she used to apologize, something unheard of in the 60’s. I do the same thing with my children. Although I remember her always having a fight with someone when I was little, it passed. Now, the grudge never goes away and apparently can resurface at any time. Especially, to me and my family. Nothing is ever enough, and when we bend over backwards to please her she finds fault in something else. I give enormous credit to my sister and her family for their graciousness about our decision for once to go away over Christmas, truly. And, I thought my mother and I had worked it out before we went, actually I know we worked it out before we left. But to come home to her nastiness, again, is really just too much.
I told my mom that there were a few disappointing aspects of our vacation and I got the impression she was thrilled. Yes, I was disappointed over a few things that happened with friends and family but that’s okay. My mother went after this like a dog with a bone. “So, she inquired, it wasn’t perfect!!!!??” No, it wasn’t perfect, but really, mom. What is?
She is losing us with her bitterness and her nastiness. Can’t she see that? Can’t she learn from that? My sister told me she bought my mother a work book about “How to let go of grudges” something she so desperately needs. Will she work on it? I doubt it, because even though some people get bitter and resentful as they age,the woman I call my mother is simply unrecognizable anymore. I’ve lost the woman I love, or to be more honest, she has lost herself.
dedicated to my sister Emma and my friend, Elise.